Now this is a thought provoking, challenging and inspiring scripture reading! 1Peter 2 13 Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, 14 or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. 15 For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. 16 Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. 17 Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor. 18 Slaves, in reverent fear of God submit yourselves to your masters, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh. 19 For it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are conscious of God. 20 But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. 21 To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. I sense the challenge of what Peter is writing by the circumstances surrounding his writing. He is calling Christ followers to submit to human authorities, even the emperor, who was no friend of the Christian movement. In the not-to-distant future this emperor would have Peter executed. At first glance I would think that Peter might use his pen to combat the sordidly non-christian ways of the Roman emperor and empire. He didn’t – in fact he suggests that in unjust, imperfect, even pagan contexts the Christ follower’s light shines with greater contrast through humility, obedience, respect, love and honor.
I am challenged by this!
The next paragraph intensifies the argument. Without making a judgment call on the institution of slavery and in recognition of the social realities of his day Peter calls slaves to “shine” with an amazing and contrasting light even when treated unjustly. There is no doubt in my mind that Peter would have been against the idea of slavery and all the human disrespect, hatred and injustice that comes with it. But here Peter sees a “greater calling”! The greater calling of “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” drives him forward as a Christ follower.
Many times I get focused on the “lesser causes”! Do you ever find yourself focused on thoughts like, “Am I being treated fairly?”, “Is this office running as good as it could?”, “Why doesn’t anyone listen to me?”, “What did I do to deserve this?”, “I can’t believe he said that to me!”, “Here she goes again – I don’t have to put up with this!” 'Why didn't I get recognition- I deserve it!" The list could go on and on but you get the idea.
All these situations have some unjust wrong things going on but God seems to be saying – “delton, don’t forget your greater calling! How you “shine” for me in these imperfect and often wrong circumstances is a “greater calling” than fixing all that is wrong in your world.”! God wants me tobe a part of bringing justice, truth and goodness into my world - no question about that - but that doesn't negate my "greater calling"!
I have a “greater calling" to shine in the unfair, hard and difficult life realities! In fact this is the arena where my witness as a Christian will likely bear the most fruit.
Lord, I know you want me to lift up goodness, righteousness and truth in the world of people I do life with – however You and I both know that I can end up missing the opportunity to “shine” for you especially when the situation and people around me are not full of goodness, righteousness and truth! Jesus help me see the “greater calling” that you have placed on my life especially in unjust, broken, unrighteous circumstances! I will trust you – you are my Light and my salvation! Amen